by Dr. Tim
From New Dawn 183
In my new book,
War on You, I document how corporate and state elites use
information, money, law, and psychology in an effort to control your
thoughts and behaviors for their own ends.
Most of the psychological
warfare documented in the book is a result of living in a
fragmented, for-profit culture over which the individual has little
In case these unconscious structures fail to keep people in their
place, the military, secret services, governments, and corporations
have developed an impressive array of deliberate mind-control
technologies and behavioral analysis firms targeted towards the
The US Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) mind control experiments,
dating back to the 1950s, are well-known.
experiments in sensory deprivation continue to be used on Guantánamo
Bay captives. But until Ian Cobain's book Cruel Britannia, few
people knew that British psychologists had pioneered the use of
sensory deprivation for mind control.
During WWII, Lord Swinton,
"pressed the Home
Office for permission to open an MI5 interrogation centre,"
codenamed Camp 020.
Brightly lit for 24 hours, a resident doctor
reportedly said that the Camp induced,
"mental atrophy and
extreme loquacity" in its victims.
A resident medical
officer named Harold Dearden,
"dreamed up the
regimes of starvation and of sleep and sensory deprivation."
The Camp was one of a
number, including the MI19-run Combined Services Detailed
Interrogation Centre, later renamed A19.
After the War, several individuals convened to share intelligence
Research Policy Committee
Defense Research Board
Research and Development Board
Unit at McGill University (Montreal)...
The latter was led by
The scientists referred to their psychological devastation
techniques as "menticide." Hebb subjected terrier puppies to
prolonged isolation before trying it on consenting postgraduate
The British and American
governments and the CIA funded Hebb's successors, including his
former student Dr. Maitland Baldwin.
deprivation would almost certainly cause irreparable
psychological damage" in humans.
The CIA's Kubark
Counterintelligence Interrogation Manual (1963) was based on
One of the MK-ULTRA
psychiatrists was McGill University's Dr. Ewen Cameron, a colleague
of psychiatric patients to large doses of electroshock and total
sensory isolation, and drugged them with LSD and PCP," writes
journalist Naomi Klein.
In 1960, Cameron lectured
to the Brooks Air Force Base, stating that sensory deprivation,
"produces the primary
symptoms of schizophrenia."
Tulane University was
allegedly involved in the operations, using the services of a
state-hospital, as well as funding by a CIA front company called the
Commonwealth Fund, to conduct research.
The Washington Post
reports that the,
"quest to turn humans
into robot-like assassins via electrodes planted in their
...led to a number of
lawsuits, in which several ex-servicemen claim to have been
unwitting human test subjects.
Plaintiff Bruce Price
claims that in 1966, he was ordered into a building full of lab
animals in which he was strapped to a gurney. Price kept waking up
with bruised arms and covered in blood.
A later CT scan, obtained
by Price's lawyer, appears to show that he had been implanted with a
mind control device.
In the 1950s, the psychologist B.F. Skinner utilized the
Russian (and later Soviet) scientist Ivan Pavlov's
conditioning techniques to falsely argue that that is how human
Geneticists pointed out
that the potential for knowledge actually comes from innate brain
structures, not solely from repetitive learning.
But Skinner was correct
in that people can be conditioned, if the conditioning is
maintained, to behave in certain ways and under certain conditions.
Skinner's work culminated in the publication of his book Beyond
Freedom and Dignity (1971), in which he argued that humanity
should be scientifically controlled via a blend of Orwellian and
Huxleyan social architecture designed to end both human freedom and
Skinner failed to persuade elites to impose a blanket control
system. But such a system is gradually creeping in, based on these
kinds of ideas.
In his work on "nudging,"
Barack Obama's former advisor Cass Sunstein argues that, like rats
in a maze, people should be given the illusion of choice in what he
and co-authors call choice architecture.
Conspiracy forums should
be "cognitively infiltrated," he says, and the supposed rationalism
of the official line inserted into chat-rooms.
More ominously, he says
behavioral science teams should be expanded to control public
opinion, for benign reasons, like "nudging" smokers to quit.
However, since Brexit in
the UK and the British government's response
to coronavirus, we've
seen the darker sides of "nudging" techniques.
The Behavioral Insights Team (BIT) was founded by the UK's
Tory-Liberal coalition government in 2010.
The Cabinet Office said:
Insights Team, often called the 'Nudge Unit', draws on insights
from academic research in behavioral economics and psychology,
to apply them to public policymaking."
The professed aims of the
BIT may sound innocent enough:
to use insights in
human behavior from the fields of neuroscience and cognitive
psychology to influence behavior (hence the "nudge") in positive
directions, such as helping people to eat more healthily, keep
appointments, and pick up litter.
Flow chart by the UK's Behavioral Insights Team.
Units have appeared in dozens of countries
the world including Australia.
The first thing to be said about the BIT is the moral question of
using subconscious ploys to consciously manipulate human behavior.
This takes away agency
and thus autonomy from the individual.
That is called manipulation...
In fact, policymakers are so interested in the subject of how to use
psychology, as opposed to force, to control people that there is
even The Persuasion Handbook (2002, SAGE).
The second issue is consent. In clinical and psychological trials,
the consent of the subject is required.
Who consents to be
manipulated by the government?
But putting aside the
moral issues, the third problem is that of context.
The government only cares about your health when it affects
government spending. As it defunds and privatizes, the British
government doesn't want people draining the National Health Service
with smoking- and obesity-related complaints.
It is cheaper to use
manipulation techniques as a kind of preventative medicine than it
is to properly fund services that everyone can enjoy. The same
applies to the British government's handling of
Rather than spending
money on testing, tracking, and tracing, the government used "nudge"
units to contain the virus on the cheap by social distancing and
clapping every Thursday at 8pm for the National Health Service.
The fourth problem with the BIT is mission creep.
As is standard practice
in our Western kleptocracies, the public paid for the foundation and
research of the BIT until it was profitable enough to be
The BIT now operates in
several countries and produces reports on everything from policing
to labour productivity; all in the interests of humanity, of course.
Research Intelligence Group
By 2010, the British government's spy agency, GCHQ and the US agency
the NSA, were working together on JTRIG:
the Joint Threat
Research Intelligence Group...
The organization was
secret until Edward Snowden leaked some of the organization's files.
Many of the files were
published by the journalist Glenn Greenwald in The Intercept. One
document from 2011 is worth quoting at length.
It says that,
"JTRIG targets a
range of individual, group and state actors across the globe who
pose criminal, security and defence threats."
JTRIG operations also
targeted the online "hacktivist" group Anonymous.
"JTRIG staff use a
range of techniques to, for example, discredit, disrupt, delay,
deny, degrade, and deter."
Both established and
up-and-coming political analysts, journalists, pundits,
personalities and other influential people who challenge the British
state may find their websites and social media accounts hacked or
incriminating evidence planted on their computers.
Pages from top secret documents of the JTRIG program.
The scope of JTRIG's
mission includes using "dirty tricks"
to "destroy, deny, degrade
[and] disrupt" enemies
by "discrediting" them, planting
and shutting down their communications.
According to Edward
these influence programs became a "major part"
operations by 2010 - the same year
the UK government established its
Behavioral Insights Team.
The techniques include:
videos containing persuasive messages
online aliases with Facebook and Twitter accounts, blogs and
forum memberships for conducting HUMINT [human intelligence]
or encouraging discussion on specific issues
emails and text messages as well as providing spoof online
setting up spoof
The document goes on to
"JTRIG provides most
of GCHQ's cyber effects and online HUMINT capability."
GCHQ's mandate is huge:
the whole of Europe,
and likely well beyond.
It is difficult,
therefore, to grasp the potential scope of JTRIG.
Above, we noted the
civilian government's use of behavioural science to manipulate
society. The JTRIG documents confirm that operatives also study and
employ techniques from the human sciences:
HUMINT operations can be grounded in scientific theory and evidence
from social psychology (i.e., social cognition, attitudes,
persuasive communications, conformity, obedience, interpersonal
relationships, trust and distrust, and psychological profiling),
including its applications to advertising and marketing, and from
criminology (i.e., crime prevention).
The document's Annex reveals some of the books in the JTRIG library:
The Handbook of
Science and Practice
Human: Social Engineering Techniques and Security and
JTRIG lists as, and
advises using, the following for propaganda operations:
Substituting names/labels for neutral ones; Censorship or
systematic selection of information; Repetition; Assertions
without arguments; [and] Presenting a message for and against a
The Boston Globe reports that the US communications giant Verizon
has a Wireless Precision Markets Insights program that combines GPS,
user app downloads and visited webpages to market products to
Montjoye, a mathematician at MIT's Media Laboratory,
"hopes it will be
possible someday to run psychological tests on entire cities or
countries, simply by analysing the citizens' phone records."
The newspaper goes on to
explain how the Media Lab's co-developed Sense Networks use cell
phone GPS trails,
"to track where users
go in daily routines - to the supermarket, the mall, nightclubs,
museums, or movie theatres."
data to create customized market segments" for people keen on
music, sports, etc.
Media Lab's Nathan Eagle
says that by studying cell phone records, analysts,
"get a real-time lens
into how the aggregate population is actually behaving... That's
useful for anything from urban planning to public health."
We come full circle with
Sentient World Simulation (SWS), a program that pools all the
intelligence collected about you.
SWS uses that information
to simulate and predict how you would behave under certain social
conditions, such as civil unrest, economic shocks or environmental
But it goes much deeper.
The SWS was developed
with military money at Purdue University. It creates a digital
mirror-image of the real world, including you and me: our streets,
towns and even the weather.
In order to anticipate
how we would react in real life, programmers do things to the
This is useful for
counterinsurgency planning and market prediction.
Technology researcher Mark Baard writes that the US Joint
Forces Command (JFCOM-J9) is,
"capable of running
real-time simulations for up to 62 nations, including Iraq,
Afghanistan, and China.
gobble up breaking news, census data, economic indicators, and
climactic events in the real world, along with proprietary
information such as military intelligence."
Based on the behavioral
economics theories of Daniel Kahneman, SWS enables,
"Military and intel
officials [to] introduce fictitious agents into the simulations
(such as a spike in unemployment, for example) to gauge their
destabilizing effects on a population."
Solutions - Getting Back to Nature
Self-empowerment is key to winning the psychological war.
Modern socio-economic systems isolate humans, simultaneously forcing
us to compete. But humans evolved in cooperative, social networks,
not within our current, curious blend of isolation and competition.
Researchers Apicella et al. studied the behaviors of
Tanzanian Hadza, one of the few surviving hunter-gatherer
They conclude that human
social cooperation probably stems from similar societies that
existed at the beginning of our species. Contrary to the
anti-"communist" propaganda positing that communism and socialism
encourage laziness, communal societies like the Hadza enjoy mutual
et al. note that in such societies,
influenced to cooperate by peer pressure."
propaganda' tries to deny us our instinct for cooperation and
dictatorships like Mao's and Stalin's used the appeal of
authentic communism to justify their centralized tyrannies.
Living in worker and
community cooperatives is one solution to the crisis of social
"Social isolation of
otherwise healthy, well-functioning individuals eventually
results in psychological and physical disintegration, and even
They add that,
have gone beyond evidence of extreme social deprivation to
demonstrate a clear link between social relationships and health
in the general population."
The authors note that, on
average, people with better social networks tend to live healthier
and longer lives than their relatively isolated counterparts.
Life in so-called primitive societies necessitates time outdoors:
growing, hunting, and foraging for food; building and maintaining
shelter; travelling to trade with neighbours; and travelling to and
from homes and community centres for meetings.
et al. note the,
"promising effects on
self-reported mental wellbeing immediately following exercise in
nature which are not seen following the same exercise indoors."
Briki and Majed
exposed participants to different virtual reality backgrounds,
including red, white and green during exercise in laboratory
The authors attributed
enhanced wellbeing, particularly increased relaxation, to the green
virtual environment. In terms of real-world benefits, think of how
little green exists in our concrete jungles.
It's not just being outside that helps the mind. The physical
interaction with natural objects is important. Gladwell et al. note:
connectedness to nature appears to be changing and this has
important implications as to how humans are now interacting with
They add that,
and it is important that these are considered when discussing
how to make exercise in the outdoors accessible and beneficial
Conclusion - The Joy
The self-sufficiency of stitching, building, maintaining and growing
shelter, clothing and food is also psychologically beneficial.
Part of today's
widespread mental malaise can be traced to the lack of process. We
buy clothes that have already been made. Purchased food has been
grown, picked, packaged and delivered by others.
We buy or rent
prefabricated houses and pay handy-people to maintain them.
Dr. Kelly Lambert,
"found that hands-on
work satisfies our primal need to make things and could also be
an antidote for our cultural malaise."
Psychology Today notes
"[t]oo much time on
technological devices and the fact that we buy almost all of
what we need rather than having to make it has deprived us of
processes that provide pleasure, meaning and pride."
In addition to its
structures, the activities of the sovereign community benefit the
human mind and enhance affective wellbeing.
Our modern, urbanised
living takes us ever further from nature. But human-environmental
interactions are important for wellbeing. For example, land reform
gives people the chance to grow their own food.
et al. cite the,
evidence of major health benefits of fruit and vegetable
consumption, physical activity, and outdoor interaction with 'green-space'"
that has emerged since the millennium.
benefits include improved cardiovascular function, reduced
osteoporosis, increased muscle tones, and exposure to light.
Nutritional benefits from
the kind of brassicas easy to grow independently (e.g., broccoli,
cabbage, cauliflower and kale), include folic and ascorbic acids and
cancer preventing nutrients.
The mental health
benefits of communal gardening include,
serotonin from sunlight exposure, which helps reduce
a community and social network...
A more recent
individual's life satisfaction, vigor, psychological wellbeing,
positive affect, sense of community, and cognitive function."
It is called
1. Ian Cobain (2012),
Cruel Britannia: A Secret History of Torture, Portobello Books
2. Quoted and cited
3. Naomi Klein
(2007), 'The US psychological torture system is finally on
4. Jeff Stein (2010),
'CIA brain experiments pursued in veterans' suit', Washington
5. Richard Thaler and
Cass Sunstein (2008) Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health,
Wealth, and Happiness, Yale University Press
6. Cass R. Sunstein
and Adrian Vermeule (2008) 'Conspiracy Theories', John M. Olin
Program in Law and Economics, Working Paper No. 387,
7. Cabinet Office
(2012), The Behavioural Insights Team,
8. Sonia Sodha
(2020), 'Nudge theory is a poor substitute for hard science in
matters of life or death', International Science Council and
International Network for Government Advice on Science,
9. See the company's
10. Mandeep K. Dhami
(2011), Behavioural Science Support for JTRIG's (Joint Threat
Research and Intelligence Group's) Effects and Online HUMINT
Operations, Cheltenham: GCHQ,
11. Glenn Greenwald
(2014), 'How covert agents infiltrate the internet to
manipulate, deceive, and destroy reputations', The Intercept,
12. Dhami, op cit.
15. Mark Baard
(2007), 'Sentient world: war games on the grandest scale', The
www.theregister.co.uk/2007/06/23/sentient_worlds/. Part 2
and part 3 here
16. C.L. Apicella,
F.W. Marlowe and N.A. Christakis (2012), 'Social networks and
cooperation in hunter-gatherers', Nature, 25(7382): 497-501
17. H. Shirado, F.
Fu, J.H. Fowler and N.A. Christakis (2013), 'Quality versus
quantity of social ties in experimental cooperative networks',
Nature Communications, 4: 2814
18. Debra Umberson
and Jennifer Karas Montez (2011), 'Social Relationships and
Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy', Journal of Health and
Social Behavior, 51: 54-66
19. J. Thompson Coon,
K. Boddy, K. Stein, R. Whear, J. Barton and M.H. Depledge
(2011), 'Does participating in physical activity in outdoor
natural environments have a greater effect on hysical and mental
wellbeing than physical activity indoors? A systematic review',
Environment Science and Technology 45(5): 1761-72
20. Walid Briki and
Lina Majed (2019), 'Adaptive Effects of Seeing Green Environment
on Psychophysiological Parameters When Walking or Running',
Frontiers in Psychology, 10: 252
21. Valerie F.
Gladwell, Daniel K. Brown, Carly Wood, Gavin R. Sandercock and
Jo L. Barton (2013), 'The great outdoors: how a green exercise
environment can benefit all', Extreme Physiology and Medicine,
22. Carrie Barron
(2012), 'Creativity, Happiness and Your Own Two Hands',
23. Jonathan R. Leake,
Andrew Adam-Bradford and Janette E. Rigby (2009), 'Health
benefits of "grow your own" food in urban areas: implications
for contaminated land risk assessment and risk management?',
Environmental Health, 8(1): S6
24. Masashi Soga,
Kevin J.Gaston and Yuichi Yamaura (2017), 'Gardening is
beneficial for health: A meta-analysis', Preventive Medicine
Report, 5: 92-99